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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Boogens

     THE BOOGENS was another horror film that somehow escaped my youth. I distinctly remember hearing about it, but never seemed to catch up with it.  Usually, when you finally get your hands on a lost horror movie that somehow escaped your grubby little hands, you're somewhat disappointed when you finally get to see it.  However, I can honestly say I enjoyed every single minute of THE BOOGENS!  Starring Rebecca Balding (SILENT SCREAM), Anne-Marie Martin (PROM NIGHT), and Fred McCarren (NATIONAL LAMPOONS CLASS REUNION), "The Boogens" is a wonderfully old-fashioned monster movie that looks sensational on blu-ray.

     The story goes something like this-the Silver City mine in Colorado is reopening after some 70 years of being closed down.  Turns out, the "Boogens" are monsters who dwell in the closed-up mine and are awakened by the miners descending down to see if it's unusable or not. Some college kids have rented a house in the woods nearby, and these "Boogens" seem to have taken over the basement of the house. It's an interesting premise, and it plays well off the dark, abandoned mine shafts and creepy old buildings. THE BOOGENS has some great atmosphere, a pretty good script, competent acting, good production values, and a surprising amount of suspense to boot. Probably because of budget restraints,  lots of POV shots of the monsters were used, and it's extremely effective. Director James L. Conway wisely keeps the monsters unseen throughout the entire film, until the ending. Some may laugh at the monsters when you actually get to see them, but I was having so much fun with THE BOOGENS up until then that it made no difference to me whatsoever.

     It's a great forgotten little monster movie of the 80'S. It's actually pretty good for a movie of this type.  I think it works so well because it lays on the suspense so think in the first half of the movie, so that when all hell breaks loose in the climax, we are thoroughly into what's going down onscreen. The characters are actually likable, for once- which certainly doesn't hurt matters. Hell, even the dog, Tiger, is actually quite talented and becomes a very likable character in his own right. Rebecca Balding was set to take over the title of Scream Queen from Jamie Lee Curtis in 1981- with her back to back roles in SILENT SCREAM (a great and underrated little slasher...) and THE BOOGENS, but seemed to just up and disappear without a trace.

      THE BOOGENS is a movie that by all rights should have been terrible... but I honestly enjoyed it very much. It's far better than its reputation, I think. It's a rare, almost forgotten monster movie that was all but swallowed in the glut of slashers that dominated the horror genre in the early 80's, although was briefly popular on HBO for a bit. It's a funky little fan favorite that I think is slowly gaining a respectable cult reputation, and because of the recent blu-ray release, looks sensational. Watch it!

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